30 May 2011

Why the Regency is Romantic - STALLIONS

Why the Regency is Romantic - STALLIONS 

Stallions are the embodiment of virility and power…and the regency was dripping with them. The Regency world ran on horse power, from high perch phaetons to farm wagons…and just like today’s sports cars, the quality of your engine spoke volume about the person.

What tonnish miss’s heart wouldn’t be set a flutter to see a handsome rogue pull up outside her address in a crest-emblazoned barouche, with coachman and liveried footman. From matched bays to high stepping hackneys the expense of keeping such an equipage was stunning… a distinct aphrodisiac. Such conspicuous wealth was not so much equivalent to a Porsche or Lamborghini but to owning a private helicopter with a personal pilot on constant standby. But then again, any self respecting heroine would see through such shallow materialistic values to the man beneath.

From hours in the stallion’s saddle our hero would have finely toned thighs. Chances our she’d get a good appreciation of this and other assets within his skin tight ‘inexpressibles’, showing every contour and plane that left little to the imagination.

And if our heroine is strong minded enough to resist a splendid physique, perhaps the skill of controlling a powerful beast between seat and heel would give her pause for thought. The power of mind over body, of man over horseflesh, of the beast between his thighs might have made her stays feel uncomfortably tight… There’s definitely something about men and horses…what do you find attractive in a man? Do please comment below.

Excerpt from ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’.

[Lord Ranulf Charing has received an urgent summons to return home.’]

...an Arab stallion danced in circles round the stable lad. Granite clouds towered in a brooding sky. A yard door slammed and the wild eyed stallion reared, dragging the lad off his feet. Then a down draught tugged the horse’s flowing silver-white mane and tail, as with flared nostrils he backed across the yard, hooves, like flints, striking sparks from the cobbles. The boy clung to the reins, more fearful of letting such a valuable horse bolt than of being trampled. The grey plunged heaven wards, a silvery ghost against a charcoal sky, then struck the ground, the massive muscles of his rump bunching to rear again just as a dark figure rounded the corner and entered the yard.
“Sir have a care, your horse….” The shouted warning was stolen by the wind.
Lord Ranulf Charing grunted, reaching out a hand to gentle the plunging beast. As if he’d cast a spell, the horse calmed and with a snicker rubbed his velveteen nose against his master’s coat to exhibit an understanding between man and horse that eluded Ranulf amongst his own kind.
At the age of thirty, tall and of muscular build; Lord Ranulf Charing was a man not given to suffering fools; his expression a habitual frown, with wide unreadable lips and brown eyes so dark as to be almost black. The impression of the young Lord being part devil and part shadow was heightened by his dress which was entirely black; from neckerchief and lawn shirt, to riding breeches and kerysmere outer coat. In short, Lord Ranulf Charing was in mourning and it suited him.

‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is available from most eBook stores including
Amazon,
Fictionwise and
Smashwords.

To find out more visit: http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com

Grace thank you for your wonderful blogs.  Best wishes for your book.  The title draws me in completely and is now topping my wish list. :-)

29 May 2011

Why the Regency is Romantic - ROGUES AND RAKES

Why the Regency is Romantic - ROGUES AND RAKES

Regency men were dangerous! For a lady to alone in their company meant risking her reputation, such was their potency. And in return, men had to be protected from their insatiable urges to ravish the nearest well born lady…and so the bastion of the gentleman’s club was born. A place where men could do mannish things together, where testosterone dripped from the chandeliers.

At his club a rake was safe from the distraction of women, this outrageous segregation allowed him to boost his virility through wagers and gambling. Within those hallowed walls men discussed business, politics and sports, topics totally unsuited for feminine ears - because Regency men were real men, taught from an early age that crying was soft and emotions were for sissies.

And talking of romantic, there are few things more appealing than a well dressed man, and regency men were the epitomy of good taste. Urbane and yet masculine in breeches and top boots, shirt, neck cloth, waistcoat and finely tailored tail coat. The aptly named ‘unexpressibles’ were a close fitting trouser shaped to the leg – what better to show off a finely toned thigh or hint at masculine prowess! Rakes prided themselves on being well groomed, so how delightful for our heroine to slowly undo a cravat that took hours to tie.

And let’s not forget the romance of good manners; of escorting a lady, opening doors, pulling out chairs, is a seduction in itself. How much more thrilling then when a hitherto perfect gentleman behaves badly….need I go on?

How about you? Do you secretly relish men being in charge or is that a big turn off? I’d love to know, please leave a comment.

Excerpt – ‘A Dead Man’s Debt.’
With his hawkish features set in a scowl, Lord Ranulf Charing settled deeper into the embrace of leather armchair. In no mood for company he’d retreated to his London club, secure in the knowledge that there at least he was safe from female pursuit. He stretched out his long legs, his attention fixed on a glass of fine brandy. With a square jaw, shadowed cheekbones and unreadable dark eyes, Charing exuded the air of a man not wishing to be disturbed.
A valet peered nervously into the Reading Room then withdrew, electing instead to throw the unsuspecting messenger into the lion’s den. With the innocence of youth the lad entered, gawping at the yellowing, tobacco stained oil paintings on oak paneled walls and with trepidation approached the reclining figure. For his part Lord Charing was well aware of the antics of the footman and was secretly pleased by his efforts to discourage interruption. As the gawky youth cleared his throat, a muscle twitched on Ranulf’s cheek as he fought the urge to grin.
“A message for Lord Charing, Sir.”
Lazily Ranulf extended a hand. “I am he.”
The boy passed over the sealed letter as if it were a hot coal. In return Ranulf pressed a silver coin into his palm and winked. Startled, the lad’s eyes grew even rounder.
“T’ank you very much Sir. T’ank you indeed.”
But the moment had passed and Lord Charing’s face was once again all hard plains and sharp angles.
“Be gone.” With a flick of the wrist the boy was dismissed.
Recognizing the Cadnum crest, Charing took a slug of brandy and broke the seal. His eyes skipped over the text; the writing hurried and uneven, the parchment bordered with black.
“Make all haste…gravest concern…deteriorating health…”
As Charing lowered the missive, the lamplight caught a moment of fleeting vulnerability, but then his wide sensuous lips set into a hard line as habitual coldness reasserted itself.
“Bolton,” he barked. In an instant the valet’s head appeared round the door. “Bolton with all haste send word to saddle my horse.”
“Very good Lordship.” Bolton bowed obsequiously. “Will there be anything else Sir?”
“Pen and paper…I must get word to my valet that I leave London immediately.”
“Consider it done, sir.” Bolton backed hastily from the room, avoiding his lordship’s eye.

‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is available from most eBook retailers including:-
Amazon,
Fictionwise and
Smashwords.

To find out more visit http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com

Join me tomorrow for my final,  post on Why the Regency is Romantic – Stallions.

28 May 2011

Why the Regency is Romantic – SATINS AND SILKS.

Why the Regency is Romantic – SATINS AND SILKS.

Hello again!
As a modern woman I take equality for granted, but the girly side of me can't resist the allure of the silk gowns and gorgeous fashions of the Regency period.

“Mrs Powlett was at once expensively and nakedly dress’d.”
Jane Austen in a letter to her sister.

How much more sensual can you get than wearing a fabulous silk chemise next to the skin? And how daring were drawers with no gusset (even if this was for the decidedly unromantic purpose of making chamber pot use easier.) Not to mention stockings held up by silk ribbons - ripe for an experienced male hand to slip undone.

But I’m getting ahead of myself – let’s start with that essential Georgian and Regency article the hat. Even this item is romantic – a wide brimmed bonnet shaded the face, preserving that perfect ivory complexion, whilst the addition of a veil spoke of mystery and hidden identity. And then there was what you headwear revealed about you. A woman wishing to be taken seriously might wear a lace cap, ribbon trimmed bonnets spoke of innocence and ostrich plumes or turbans proved you a regency fashionista.

And the gowns.

Gowns for every occasion and time – morning, walking, riding, evening and ball gowns. And the fabrics – whisper thin muslin, clinging lawns, semi-transparent cottons, whispering silks and luxurious satins. Each gown high waisted with a tiny bodice, the wearer’s stays cunning thrusting the bosom upward so make a maiden seem a siren.

And then there was the act of getting dressed…or undressed. Designed to make the wearer helpless with lacings and rows of tiny buttons down the back, again the scope for seductively undressing the heroine is mouthwatering, and the equally evocative risk of being caught half dressed just as tantalizing.

What do you think? Would you like to live in the regency or are you happy to savor it from a comfortable distance? Do share you thoughts in the comments below.

EXCERPT – A Dead Man’s Debt.
Easing kid leather slippers from aching feet, she rolled down her stockings, the air cool against her bare skin. Stretching her toes Celeste hoped that from sheer fatigue, if no other reason, she might sleep well for the first time in a month.
A cursory tap and, without waiting for a reply, the door opened.
“Evenin’ Miss.” Amy bustled in with a lighted candlestick, the faint aroma of boiled cabbage clinging to her skirts. “I thought as yer’d be needing this- sitting in the gloom an’ all.” Protecting the flickering flame with a cupped hand, she placed the candle on the dresser, the licking flame deepening the shadows.
“Thank you.”
“There’s a chill in the air Miss. Would yer like a fire set?”
“No need. I intend to retire directly.” With a humph Celeste struggled to reach the row of tiny pearl buttons at her back. “But please help me off with this gown. Honestly! Why fashion dictates such impractical garments is quite beyond me.” Only in her heart Celeste knew that women of her station were destined to be helpless.
“But if yer had yer way Miss, us lady’s maids would be out of a job.”
“I hadn’t thought of it like that.”
Amy’s fingers worked nimbly down the delicate fastening until the silk sheath slackened and whispered to the floor. Celeste braced against the bedstead as Amy tugged at stay laces until the knots gave way and Celeste filled her lungs for the first time all day. How she ached to sink between cool linen sheets, her eyelids pleasantly heavy, closing under their own weight. In a chemise Celeste stretched and arched her back, shaking away stiffness.
“Shall I brush yer hair Miss?”
“Please.”
With a sleepy nod Celeste settled at the dressing table. The weight of the chignon pulled at her scalp and it was sheer bliss as Amy deftly plucked out the pins, releasing the thick chestnut curls to tumble down about her shoulders…

A Dead Man’s Debt is available from most eBook retailers including
Amazon,
Fictionwise and
Smashwords.

To find out more about the author visit: http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com

Please join me again tomorrow I post on Why the Regency is Romantic – Rogues and Rakes.

27 May 2011

Please welcome back Grace Elliot

Grace, thank you for coming back and sharing some more with us over the next four days.

Why the Regency is Romantic – THE SEASON.
Hello there and a big thank you to Sherry for making me feel so welcome.


My name is Grace Elliot and I lead a double life. By day I am a veterinarian and by night I write historical romance. Now that isn’t quite as odd as it sounds because I started writing as a de-stress from the emotionally draining side of veterinary work. As an avid reader, my aim is to write the sort of page turning, lump in the throat romances I love to read.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, explaining why I find the regency so romantic, and first off its ‘The Season.’

In purely factual terms the Season took place between New Year and August, peaking after Easter and over the summer. The actual dates varied according to when Parliament sat, which in turn depended on sport.

“The sessions of Parliament cannot be held til the frost is out of the ground and the foxes begin to breed.”

The Season was a round a social events that any young lady out to snag a good husband must attend. To snare such a man you had to attend the right events such as the Derby (for which Parliament adjourned), Ascot, the Royal Academy Exhibition, the Henley Regatta and cricket at Lords. The mark of a successful season was to be admitted to Almack’s – the exclusive club run by fearsome high born ladies who had the power to make or break reputations.

So why was the Season romantic? Well apart from the gorgeous balls, so much was at stake. Finding a husband was no casual task but the work of a social mastermind; from daring gowns, epic hairstyles and witty conversation, to being seen in the right company everything must be just so…and not a hint of scandal. What better setting for intrigue and heartbreak could a writer ask for?

In Georgian times marriage was a commodity people traded for mutual advancement…so what of true love? If our heroine sets her sights on an unsuitable match, a rogue that makes her heart race, how to protect reputation? How resourceful must our heroine be with her fearsome Mama breathing down her neck? For a writer the obstacles to true love are just delicious and part of why the Regency is so romantic.

So what eras do you read and why? I’d love to know, do please comment below.

EXCERPT – ‘A Dead Man’s Debt.’
(Exiled in the country, Celeste writes to her mother.)

“Celeste chewed her top lip and frowned. It simply wouldn’t do. She’d never liked half-truths and platitudes and wasn’t about to start now. Breaking the inky meniscus, wiping the nib she began again in bold lettering.

Dear Mother,
If you thought to teach me a lesson by sending me to the country, it is one poorly learnt. I will not change my opinion of the odious Earl of Crumbourne, no matter how excellent a match you consider him to be. Further more, my sojourn here has granted ample time for reflection and I remain resolute that marriage is not for me. It is my determined and final decision to remain unattached…
She shivered, suddenly vulnerable, as unwelcome memories sprang to mind; of Lord Crumbourne with his greasy slobberings and mutton chop breath. Bile rose in her throat as she remembered scratchy bristles against her neck and his odor of onions. What an idiot she’d been, feeling sorry for that fool! It had been so insufferably hot in that ballroom, when he’d suggest a turn round the rose garden it had all seemed so innocent, just a gentleman concerned for a lady’s comfort. A chaperone seemed unnecessary… presumptuous even…with a family friend.
Once out of sight of the lighted windows, his clammy hand had tightened on her shoulder, catching her by surprise. When he’d run a hand behind her head to force her mouth towards his, her first reaction was that it was a jest. When he’d rammed his tongue past her gritted teeth and kissed her it had been a most unpleasant shock.
Then when he’d crushed her against a wall, bearing his full weight against her hips, her blood had run cold. His mouth smothered, sucking air from her lungs. She’d squirmed to get away but he’d tightened his grip. She panicked as cool air flooded round her knees, his free hand lifting her skirts. The shock of his rough probing, his thumb pressed into her inner thigh had given her strength. As her protests were muffled by his lips, instinctively her knee jabbed sharply up into his groin. The result was immediate and satisfying. He’d released her and crumpled like a leaf.
Later Estella had written to her that Crumbourne walked with a limp for a full week afterwards. In a strange way he had done her a favor. It would take a while for the gossip to subside and until in effect she’d been banished from London by her mother, who apparently approved of his lordship as a match. With a sigh Celeste set the quill aside.
The more she thought about the future, the more she knew the restrictions of marriage were not for her….”

A Dead Man’s Debt is available from most eBook retailers including
 Amazon,
Fictionwise,
Smashwords

To find out more about the author visit: Http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com


Join me tomorrow when  I post on Why the Regency is Romantic – Satins and Silks. 

24 May 2011

Rejection Letters and what you can to do with them

Rejection Letters

What can I say about these? Even after all the years that I have been writing it still feels like the ultimate kick in the backside. No one likes working every hour god sends on their manuscript, editing it until their cross eyed, only to receive a ‘Thanks, but no thanks letter.

So, what do you do when your work is rejected? Well, years ago I used to cry like a baby. And that’s not a joke! It’s fine to feel emotional. No one really understands the pressure your under. Not unless they are a writer themselves. Here is where your writer’s groups/loops become a handy tool. Here you can vent your feelings, and they will all understand and commiserate. When an editor says they hated something that took you months, even years to perfect, it is okay to feel bad. But let’s not dwell in the pits of despair for too long, because remember, when you receive a rejection letter, it puts you firmly in the league of “real writers”. You wrote a book! Congratulate yourself. Millions have tried and failed. Now you have just entered a whole new world.

A lot of new writers make the mistake of not writing ever again. What a waste of a talent. There are thousands of writers who have been rejected over and over again, only to eventually find the right editor whom loves their work. I for one had a letter of rejection for my book The heart of a warrior in one hand and a gushing acceptance in the other. There are successful authors who wrote for years and years before they get their ‘call’. Catherine Cookson, Joanna Trollope, J.K Rawlings to name but a few.

So learn from the rejection? Evaluate it for what it is. It is NOT a slur on your family name, your character, your first born baby! Read what the editor/agent said about your work. If it’s a bog standard rejection letter, you probably won’t get much feedback. So then you just file in the container marked ‘bin’ and move on. BUT, if you are lucky to get feedback, do take them seriously. Editors and agents don’t have time to heap false praise on someone that is not on their listings. But if one has taken time to give you detailed feedback of any kind, it means something about your story or your writing touched them. Well done.

Also, sit up and take notice if an editor asks to see more of your work. If they say they’d like to see your manuscript again if you make some changes, drop everything, make them and send it back. QUICKLY! Same thing if they ask to see something else from you. Do it. Send it. . They don’t ask for more work lightly.

Writing is a minefield. Occasionally we will get blown up, sometimes get stomped on from other authors who have a hidden agenda to murder you. Other times, we will just get down about the whole thing. It will pass, we can and do, mend ourselves. Without us, the world will never get to see those stories that touch the imagination, melt the heart or just get the pulses racing.

If you have any ideas on how to deal with rejection letters post here with your web addy and I’ll put your comments on my writer’s blog.
http://margaretparanormalromanceauthor.blogspot.com/



Buy Abigail Cottage in e-book and print HERE

Publisher: www.hedge-witcherybooks.com

My links:
www.margaretwest.net
http://magsx.blogspot.com/
http://margaret-paranormalromanceauthor.blogspot.com/

 
 
 
 
Blurb:
 
When Abigail falls in love with Justin she can’t begin to know the world of hurt she is heading into. Gorgeous, kind, rich – he’s the man we all dream to meet. BUT, all is not what it seems because Justin is a true demon from hell, disguised as a mortal being. He wants her and will do, kill or maim anyone who tries to stop him. Namely Shaun the real hero, who wants Abigail more! So what does a mortal man do against a demon? He enlists the help of a gypsy of course. But not any old gypsy. Rosa knows Justin very well and has the powers of the spirit world on her side to fight him. Using crystals as a powerful weapon, the light of the spirit world to lead them, they embark on a battle with the whole of the underworld. Many loved ones will lose their lives. This isn’t a book where everyone survives. In real life, bad things happen. In Abigail Cottage, terrible tragedies occur too. Believe... not every story can have a happy ending.

21 May 2011

Magaret West talks about Romance


Romance

What is Romance? How can you write about the emotion in invokes? It’s nice to have your partner open a door for you, buy you flowers for no other reason than they want to. To define it, romance is the very essence of life. Without it your love life will miss out on an essential component. It brings a sort of identity to your relationship. So where does romance come from? Grand gestures, flowery words? No, that is just a small part of it. Romance comes from the heart.

Bogged down and slightly jaded from the daily grind of life, it is quite possible to forget about each other. The flame that once seared your veins with passion, filled your heart with happiness, begins to diminish into a pale glow of insignificance. Suddenly you discover that you no longer know each other. The closeness you both nurtured has vanished into the wind, taken away and dumped somewhere deep in the ocean. Can you get that back? Of course! A famous author once wrote ‘Nothing is truly lost.’ That is a fact!

To hold onto your love, there has to romance and that’s why I became a romance writer. When the real world gets too much to bear, sometimes it’s nice to slip into a fictional reality. Become a silent observer in an unfolding romance. Feel the characters pain; become involved in the twists and turns, as the story unfolds. Not all romances end sweet, some are bittersweet.

What do you think of romance in the modern world? Has it really got a place or have we become jaded.



Publisher: www.hedge-witcherybooks.com
My  links:
www.margaretwest.net
http://magsx.blogspot.com/
http://margaret-paranormalromanceauthor.blogspot.com/

20 May 2011

Hooking a reader.


Hooking a reader.

In the beginning god gave us light!! LOL I’ve always wanted to start a paragraph off with that. Which brings me to the point of this article. I’m always hearing how editors tell authors they must ‘hook’ a reader. It brings to mind the fishing rod scenario. But if you think about it, how many times do we sit down to watch a film only to be bored to death within the first few minutes? In this age where competition is rife, grabbing a reader’s attention is like holding onto a slippery fish. Fast, fierce and riveting should be the things aimed for with a hook. A new angle, twist of writing style sets you apart from the rest.

I remember reading a book, Night Visions, by Ariana Dupre and was completely thrown that her witch character, was a man. A rather, hunky one to boot. What a twist, when all the foreshadowing made me feel like she was the usual ‘hag witch’. Be honest now. How many books have you picked up then cast aside because they just don’t do it for you? I’ve had two this month. The greatest gift a reader can give an author is the words, ‘I could not put the book down’. I had that with my latest book Abigail Cottage. The reader said, she literally stayed after work to read it! The one thing that struck me was the fact she said, even when she put the book down, she was still thinking bout the story and characters. That really gave me a sense of ‘job’ well done!

I believe that an author really needs to sit down and think who their first readers will be. Over worked editors and Agents! They look for a ‘hook’ straight away. Almost like a person dying of thirst in the desert would search for water. A crashing noise, explosion, head chopping off (if you write horror lol) is a first sentence hook. It compels a reader to read on and see what’s happened. Joking aside, it is so important and each page should end with a page turner. You need your reader to want to turn that page. So remember, even one word can hook. Don’t be afraid to cast out your rods with hooks made of steel.


Buy Abigail Cottage in e-book and print HERE

Publisher. www.hedge-witcherybooks.com

My links: www.margaretwest.net
http://magsx.blogspot.com/
http://margaret-paranormalromanceauthor.blogspot.com/

19 May 2011

Margaret West Talks about writing the perfect plot

How to write a perfect plot


Good Morning. I am very happy to be here, on Sherry’s blog for the next seven days...yikes...I hope I don’t bore you all rigid lol. I like feedback, so any comments/questions you may have, feel free to ask. I’ll be popping in and out all the time.

So let’s talk about how I think you can write a perfect plot. I need input here. So anything you can add will go onto my writer’s blog, under the Author helpful hints page. So be sure to leave your website addy beside your comments for me.

In my other job as a medium, I observe people. So I apply that technique to those who like to read books. If a person stops, frowns, then re-read a sentence, it’s a warning that something is very wrong. It could be loss of viewpoint, failure to provide adequate settings or, worse still, an inconsistency in the plot. Whatever it is, it usually results from careless plotting compounded by either failure to double check each development, or a suicidal conviction that no one will notice! Trust me, a reader WILL notice.

I believe a first scene should have a good hook, which I will discuss in tomorrow’s blog. You set the pace and mood here. It’s all about making your reader care about your characters.

Non writers always ask me, where do you get your ideas? I believe that what sets a writer’s imagination apart from other types of imagination, is the way it collects and organises it. I read somewhere that a writer thinks of them self as a hunter gather. I like that phrase. A writers mind is where an impression can grow and spread into fully expanded ideas. It’s like having a personal filing cabinet inside your head. People’s lives are interesting. So be a hunter gatherer and grab any information that takes your fancy and store it away.

PLOTTING. I only chose the strongest ideas. Never some vague outlines that may form. You should have an idea of settings and conflict. So which comes first? In answer to that, both! The elements come at the same time, spurring each other on. Give your characters bones to fight over and a place to hold that fight. The hero and heroine are the most important members of the cast. Their backgrounds, personalities, and skills must make them come across as real. I always check and cross-check their histories as I build them. A heroine who has a lovely, but empty face, no wrinkles in her clothes, and no wrinkles in her spirit is boring. So don’t expect anyone to care about her. She’s not real enough. Let’s say my heroine is twenty – three, ought to be pretty, because if she is I don’t have to look too hard to get her noticed. But one character doesn’t make a novel. In steps the hero. Also secondary characters. Traits and agendas for them. I build them as carefully as I build my main characters. They are just as important. But not too many. In my experience, a whole crowd of characters with agenda’s make confusing reading.

The hero…let’s call him Edward, knows what he wants. He was born knowing that and he’s been going after it ever since. He’s honourable, loyal and smart and confident. Understanding women isn’t something he’s worked real hard at. He never had a reason to before he met Virginia.

She’s the woman he wants. She works at the office and he’s tried to get to know her but she doesn’t want to know. He hates that, but he can’t get her out of his head. It doesn’t help that she applied for the promotion that was given to him. He also heard that one of the firm’s biggest accounts is her ex-husband. Who still wants her. Can you see the hero developing here? He’s not perfect, but who is nowadays? This makes him more believable to the reader.

Major characters lead to secondary characters. Major and secondary characters lead to minor characters.

CONFLICT. When I work on characterization, I always work on conflict. I try hard not to get bogged down with silver eyes that shine like a polished kettle, and sardonic eyebrows that slash heavenward like dark thunderbolts prepared to challenge God. My rule of thumb is, only trouble is interesting. And if you want to capture a reader’s attention and hold it, your characters must be in trouble. The root of all this trouble comes from your characters wanting something they can’t have. BUT they must have it or be doomed to eternal unhappiness or, almost worse, a passionless existence.

MOTIVATION. I try hard to make my story real, but basically it’s a fabricated vision of a selected sequence from life. Here is where inconsistencies can creep in. But if you don’t catch the problem, you’re in trouble. As I write, I ask myself questions: Why? Where and how? Then I cross-check everything. I never leave a question unanswered a loose end untied. Everything needs to be as tight as a glass blowers backside!

LOCATION. This is where you decide on the scenes you will use to tell your story. I choose my locations for impact, not just for setting. Here I take the time to organise a few pivotal scenes that act as anchors to the entire plot. If I choose wrong the whole story could fall apart. Here I decide what the next scene must convey, how it will move the story forward, change the characters, complicate the plot. Then I decide what scene I will use as a tray to carry all these tasty morsels.

So to do a quick recap.

1. Flesh out my heroine and hero. Maybe take whole paragraph to talk about them. Make her three dimensional.

2. What do they want that will put them in conflict with themselves and with each other and with the world? Jot down notes.

3. Take the want you’ve developed, devise an action to get it, then motivate and qualify the action with the who, when, why, what, how sequence.

4. You need a scene to present the idea you gathered. To execute the scene, I use the heroine and hero I’ve fleshed out, and some of the want that stops them from leaping into each other’s arms and living happily ever after on page one of your book.

5. Read over the six points you’ve written.

6. Combine them into a paragraph that captures the essence of the story.

Now I have my workable plot line.

If you have any helpful tips or just want to comment, please do.

Blurb:
When Abigail falls in love with Justin she can’t begin to know the world of hurt she is heading into. Gorgeous, kind, rich – he’s the man we all dream to meet. BUT, all is not what it seems because Justin is a true demon from hell, disguised as a mortal being. He wants her and will do, kill or maim anyone who tries to stop him. Namely Shaun the real hero, who wants Abigail more! So what does a mortal man do against a demon? He enlists the help of a gypsy of course. But not any old gypsy. Rosa knows Justin very well and has the powers of the spirit world on her side to fight him. Using crystals as a powerful weapon, the light of the spirit world to lead them, they embark on a battle with the whole of the underworld. Many loved ones will lose their lives. This isn’t a book where everyone survives. In real life, bad things happen. In Abigail Cottage, terrible tragedies occur too. Believe... not every story can have a happy ending.

BuyLinks:  Abigail Cottage in e-book and print
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Abigail-Cottage-Margaret-West/dp/1907963049/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1292601645&sr=1-7
Publisher. www.hedge-witcherybooks.com

My links:
www.margaretwest.net
http://magsx.blogspot.com/
http://margaret-paranormalromanceauthor.blogspot.com/

Margaret, :-) thank you for sharing your ideas and blurb for Abigail Cottage with us today.  I enjoyed reading yours and will tweak some of them into my own routines.

15 May 2011

Trip Around the World: Mega Author Blog Hop: Ticket to Paradise!



Trip Around the World: Mega Author Blog Hop: Ticket to Paradise!
~May 16th - 23rd~
particpation details below - at the end of the blog 

Let me introduce myself before I take you round Norwich and the surrounding countryside of Norfolk England. I am Sherry Gloag’s heroine, Trudi Delaney, in her latest novel, Duty Calls, published in February by Black Opal Books.

I'll start by showing you where the inspiration for some of the scenes in Duty Calls come from. The novel opens with the arrival of Gloag’s hero, Rafe Hawk, at Kinsale Hall. The large house in Duty Calls is set in expansive grounds all of which are very roughly based on Holkham Hall on the North Norfolk coast in England.
Holkham Hall

Ms Gloag makes no apologies for rearranging the settings and transplanting them in an unspecified country location. The original setting is close to the county town of Norwich which is regarded as the most complete medieval city in Britain and its amazing history will delight and enthral as you discover how the past has shaped the city. 

Norwich was one of the most important towns in Anglo Saxon Britain developed from a collection of small settlements along one of Norfolk's rivers, the Wensum. From these relatively humble beginnings Norwich was to experience dramatic changes with the Norman invasion and settlement in 1066.

The cathedral, was founded in 1096 and built using Normandy stone shipped over from Caen. Only Salisbury Cathedral’s spire is taller than the one in Norwich.

Ethelbert Gate

Providing access from the southern end of Tombland, the Ethelbert Gate is unique example of Norwich preserving evidence of the 12th-century gatehouse, but is essentially a rebuild of c.1320. The upper storey originally housed a chapel, and the gate is remarkable for its early and sophisticated use of flint flushwork.

When you take an official city tour, you will hear about what is called, locally, Kett’s rebellion. Not content with one peasant rebellion, Norwich in 1549 saw Robert Kett’s three week uprising against the enclosure of commons and the dissolution of the monasteries. Kett, a tanner seized the city and led his army to victory over one government army before falling to a far larger one: Kett was hanged from Norwich Keep. The tour iformation maintains that there are links with Ethelbert’s Gate and Kett’s followers.

Norwich with its trading centre was soon the fourth city in the land. More medieval churches remain in Norwich than even London or Paris and were built with the fortunes from the wool trade. 



 Once thought to be a natural phenomenom, research in the 1950'sproved The Norfolk Broads were man-made, showing the sides of the deep lakes were vertical and not gently sloping as would be expected of a naturally formed lake, coupled with the historical evidence of peat demand.

In other words, through the need to dig peat for fuel to cook and keep warm, over the centuries past generations gifted a vast area that became a natural habitat to many species for birds, butterflies and other creatures, as a well as an ideal location for boating holidays for the present generation.

When, in Duty Calls, the children’s safety is in question, I envisaged taking the girls to places based on those mentioned above.

Because of its position off the main south-north motorways and modern-day-rat-race, Norfolk still maintains much of its old-world charm and historical roots. Snettishan and Holme host a couple of the best known bird sanctuaries in Britain. And the beaches offer a wonderful opportunity for family entertainment.

Norfolk is siuated in the south east of England, and in one medium-sized county offers a wide variety of visitor delights that has something for everyone.


BLURB:
She’d saved his life…
Rafe Hawk refuses to accept the inheritance, of a large English estate, and the title that goes with it, after his birth father’s death because the man chose duty over the woman he loved and their son.
So when he finds himself temporarily living at Kinsale Hall, he’s not prepared to trust anyone associated with the place, including Trudi Delaney and her daughter.
So why, when he looks into their eyes, does he suddenly remember a woman who may have lost her life after a storm while saving his over a decade ago?
Now he could destroy hers.

Instinct warns Trudi Delaney the arrival of the contemptuous American architect at Kinsale Hall will change her life forever. Especially when she discovers he spends so much of his time in areas of Kinsale Hall off-limits to visitors.
Eleven years after escaping from her psychotic husband with a stranger, she’s still plagued by nightmares of events she can’t remember. Events such as, who fathered her beautiful daughter?
Now more than a decade later, she is confronted by another stranger. Will this one destroy everything she holds dear?

EXCERPT:
“Stop the car!” Rafe Hawk swung round to face the driver. “I recognise this road. You never said the commission to build those retirement units was at Kinsale Hall. You know damn well I swore never set foot in the place again, eleven years ago.”
Rage hazed his vision. “You knew I’d refuse the commission if you’d revealed the location, and because you withheld that vital information, Arthur, this contract is null and void.” He shot forward in his seat when Arthur tramped on the brakes.
His friend from their Uni days skewed round in his seat. “How long have we known each other?”
Startled by Arthur Clifton’s question, Rafe hesitated. “What’s the length of our friendship got to do with anything? Other than the fact you’re stretching it very thin, if you think I’ll set foot on Kinsale territory again.” He swung open the car door and leaped out, his fingers tunnelling through his windswept hair.
Brilliant blue skies overhead offered a large playground for the early summer sunshine, and the fluffy white clouds sailing by. He saw the high chimney-tops through the trees.
“Do you really think I’d bring you here without a very good reason?” Arthur remained in his seat, his hands on the steering wheel, watching Rafe pace up and down the soft verge beside the open-topped car.
"I can't think of a single reason good enough that justifies you resurrecting events that nearly cost me my life, and possibly cost the life on an unknown woman."

REVIEWS for Duty Calls


My Blog-hop Prize
To win a free pdf copy of my current novel, Duty Calls
Describe what or where in Norfolk you would like to visit and why.
Click "Follow" on this blog
Please also leave your email address (in case you are a winner!) 


TO ENJOY YOUR NEXT HOLIDAY TRIP
THIS TIME IN GREECE
VISIT Kristine Cheney's BLOG
AND LEAVE A COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN
MORE FABULOUS PRIZES   
* * * * *

TOUR RULES:
1) HAVE FUN!!!
2) INVITE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS!!! SPREAD THE WORD!!!
3) THIS TOUR STARTS: Monday, May 16, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, May 23, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
4) MEET AND MINGLE WITH ALL THE AUTHORS! EXPERIENCE A NEW DESTINATION AT EVERY STOP! PARTICIPATE IN EVERY BLOG CONTEST AND BE ENTERED FOR CHANCES TO WIN MULTIPLE PRIZES! EVERY BLOG VISITED IS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO WIN!!
5) PARTICIPATION AT EVERY BLOG IS RECOMMENDED. BUT REMEMBER: THE MORE YOU HOP, THE MORE CHANCES YOU HAVE TO WIN. EVERY AUTHOR IS WAITING TO MEET AND INTERACT WITH YOU, SO PLEASE BE SURE TO SHOW EVERY AUTHOR SOME LOVE!
6) OH! AND DON'T FORGET!!" HAVE FUN!! :-)

Simple!! LOL

Remember ~ rule #5~
PARTICIPATION AT EVERY BLOG IS RECOMMENDED. BUT REMEMBER: THE MORE YOU HOP, THE MORE CHANCES YOU HAVE TO WIN. EVERY AUTHOR IS WAITING TO MEET AND INTERACT WITH YOU, SO PLEASE BE SURE TO SHOW EVERY AUTHOR SOME LOVE!


11 May 2011

Debut Author spot - Please welcome Grace Elliot

Please give a warm welcome to  historical romance author Grace Elliot, whose debut  novel, A Dead Man’s Debt’    .

Author Bio. 
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is addicted to cats, acting as housekeeping staff to five mischievous moggies.

Grace believes intelligent people need romantic fiction in their lives as an antidote to the modern world and as an avid reader of historicals she turned to writing as a release from the emotionally draining side of veterinary work. Her debut novel ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is now available from most eBook stores including Amazon price $2.99.

What created your interest in history? And why did you choose the period to write in that you have?
I discovered the wonders of history whilst pregnant with my second son. It was a difficult pregnancy and I spent a lot of time resting and reading. By chance I picked up an engrossing book by Margaret George called ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII.’ That the novel was based on fact was a revelation…but how could this be so when the book was so interesting? I then read my first non-fiction history book outside of school, and fell in love with the past. History books became an addiction…they occupy all available wall space at home…and research is the best excuse yet to buy more!
‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is set in the regency period. There’s just something about the late Georgian era that lends its self to romance: men’s fashions were so dashing, woman dressed in flimsy silk gowns with tiny bodices, it was a time of strict manners when reputation was everything…just ripe for the romantic novelist to take advantage of!

How much time do you spend on research before you start writing?
There are two types of research. Firstly, that general to the regency era and secondly, facts pertinent to the story I’m writing.
I constantly read non-fiction for pleasure and so the general research looks after itself. Each novel requires specific research, such as what plays were popular that year, or what style bonnets were in vogue. I keep a hardback spiral bound notebook for each WIP (Work in progress) and during the first draft note down what’s needed and research the details as I go.
I couldn’t bare not to write every day. I’ll never be a writer who researches everything first and then, with all the facts in place, starts to write.

How much plotting do you have to do before you start writing?
My writing method is that characters come first; I decide on the hero or heroine, what makes them tick and their back story. From there I decide what circumstances they fear most…and guess what….plunge them right into that situation.
My characters write themselves, my task is to get inside their heads and anticipate their feelings and reactions…getting to know them inside out is the key to letting their voices speak on the page. When I’m ‘in the zone’ to steal a sporting reference, the words flow straight from the characters mouths and my fingers are just the conduit that lets it happen.

Why did you choose historical romance?
It’s the escapism of romance, and especially historical romance, that does it for me. Real life is tough, and as a working wife and mother I’m constantly busy, with little time to myself. My work as a veterinarian is also very stressful; making life and death decisions several times a day and dealing with the emotional consequences for owners can be draining, to say the least. And that’s where both reading and writing romance comes in. It’s my escape from reality, a means of detaching myself from the cares of the present and unwinding. I’d go so far as to say that most intelligent people could do with reading romance, as an antidote to the modern world.

If you could make one life-impacting change to the historical period you write about, what would it have been?
I’d stop the practice of blood letting and make midwives wash their hands!
For so many centuries doctors were pretty useless, and for whatever misguided reasons, bled their patients (perhaps to make it look like they were doing something!). How totally crazy is the idea of draining blood out of a weak and seriously ill patient? Madness! Likewise, the importance of hygiene was appreciated and many women died needlessly after childbirth from fever, because midwives and doctor didn’t bother wash their hands before gynaecological examinations.

If you didn't write, what would you like to do?
Read!
Or, if I wasn’t allowed a book (or kindle!) I’d go for a jog. …then come back and read.

What are you working on now?
You can’t beat a good historical romance for page turning, escapism and I hope my next novel ‘Eulogy’s Secret’ lives up to this.
‘Eulogy’s Secret’ is a story about hidden identity, dangerous assumptions and prejudice. Our heroine, Eulogy Foster, has a secret that could destroy lives…but will she keep that secret if, in the telling, she could win the man she loves?
Once again set in the Regency, this book is the first in a series of three, about very different brothers, and will be available later this year.

Book Blurb: ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ by Grace Elliot.
Celeste Armitage has a plan…and that plan doesn’t include marriage.
After deliberately humiliating a suitor, Celeste’s despairing parents exile her to the country. But once there she discovers a sketch book of daring nude studies and is shaken to find the artist is her hostess’s eldest son, Lord Ranulf Charing. This darkly cynical lord is exactly the sort of dissipated rogue she despises most…if only her blood didn’t heat at the thought of him…
Nothing is as it seems. Lord Ranulf’s life is a fa├žade. Only he can save the Charing’s from disgrace as a blackmailer seeks to ruin his late brother’s reputation. But just as Ranulf dares to open his heart to Celeste, the fury of his nemesis is unleashed… facing him with the stark choice between true love and family duty. However when Celeste guesses the truth behind his rejection, Ranulf underestimates her resolve to clear his name and in so doing places the woman he loves in mortal danger….

Excerpt:
So be it. Ranulf gritted his teeth as he grasped the leading leg and pushed. It was like fighting against a brick wall, the calf barely moving. A lamb was difficult enough, how much more so a calf? Just as he was wondering if one man was strong enough, a shower of pebbles rattled down the bank. Concentrating on the calf, he barked.

“Don’t just stand there. Get down here!”

“I beg your pardon!” A woman’s voice answered.

With a flash of annoyance Ranulf glanced upward.

A wide eyed young woman in a straw bonnet peered down. “I say, is everything all right?”

“Does it look all right?” Muttering under his breath, all he needed was some sensitive Miss fainting on him. “Go! Fetch help from the house.”

He saw her hesitate, biting her top lip. “But you need help now.”

A contraction clamped around his arm as the cow's tail switched across his face, stinging his eyes like a cat-o-nine-tails.

In a flurry of muslin and lace the Miss slid down the bank, landing with a thud in the ditch.

“Ouch.” She rubbed her ankle. Ranulf glared back, dark eyes flashing.

“You should have gone to the house.” Damn it all, she could make herself useful then. “Hold the tail aside.”

Pulling a face she limped over. Ranulf's eye lingered for she merited a second glance. Of middle height with a tidy waist and curves where God intended them, she appeared quick witted and bright eyed. Without further ado, she stripped off her gloves throwing them onto a bramble bush. Long, sensitive fingers grasped the muddy tail. Practical, Ranulf thought, silently impressed.

“Why didn't you go for help?”

“There wasn't time.” Her bonnet slipped backwards, revealing a quirky face with a pointed chin, her lips finely drawn with an arched cupid's bow. The sort of face an artist could lose himself in, all shades of the sea to be found in deep emerald eyes framed by a tangle of chestnut hair.

Ranulf tightened his grasp and pushed. Sweat beading his brow. The calf retreated an inch.

“What are you doing?” Her voice was gentle and calm, if somewhat deep for a woman. Ranulf guessed it would be husky in bed, whispering over a pillow after a night of passion. Her eyes were on him - deep green eyes, lively and entrancing. Suddenly he remembered that he was undressed to the waist, her curious gaze on his skin as he was gripped by the idea of those lily white hands gliding over his naked chest, her almond shaped nails digging into his skin. He shook away the thought, trying to remember her question.

All innocence and interest she watched, blushing faintly in a charming way and yet, he realized, no wilting flower. He shook his head. The woman had asked a question, damn it. He would answer.

“The calf is breech.” He grunted, “I need to push her back into the womb to turn her…” He wanted to shock this stranger, to test how bold she truly was. She stared back, biting her top lip, exaggerating her snub nose.

“Ah!” Her gaze met his.

“Think of the calf as a carriage in a narrow driveway. To turn it around you push it back into the stable yard…”

“What can I do to help?”

“Nothing.” He growled.

Throwing him an angry look, she anchored the tail with a log and scrambled round to the beast's head. After a moment‟s thought, she placed her pelisse under the cow's head stroking the broad nose and crooning words of comfort.

“She's relaxing.” Ranulf's arm was numb from the contractions. He fell forward, as the first leg finally slid back into the womb. "That helps." His hair had come free from the ribbon, falling thickly about his shoulders. He glanced at the Miss. She was leaning forward, her bosom straining against a tight bodice, a satisfying cleavage between her breasts. He swallowed hard. She was odd looking, he decided, not exactly beautiful but eye catching none the less. Her face showed character, determination…and her complexion too healthy to be fashionable, rosy cheeked and peppered with freckles which with a hint of sunlight burst into a profusion.

The Miss was glaring at him now, her skin glowing bright pink. Had he been staring? His heart raced as he returned to the calving.

To find out more visit http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com
or visit her web page http://www.graceelliot.webs.com/
You can buy A Dead Man's Debt HERE ~ HERE ~ HERE ~ HERE

:-) Grace, I love cats too. Thank you for joining us here and sharing information on your fascinating book.

10 May 2011

Comma Chameleon

Today Kim rounds up her visit talking about  Comma Chameleon

The comma is, in my opinion, the chameleon of the punctuation family. And I don’t mean that in a good way, but rather that it reminds me of the chameleon Randall from the Disney movie Monster’s Inc. Why? Because despite the many grammatical rules about using the comma, they’re always changing or including exceptions that basically say, “This is the rule, but you can do it this way, or you can do it that way, or you can follow what this person does, or what that person does”. Sort of like a chameleon changes colors. It’s enough to drive you batty.

There’s no way in this blog post I can cover all the rules there are associated with the comma. But I’m going to do my best to cover two instances that create problems for authors.

INDEPENDENT CLAUSES: This is more commonly known as a sentence. So basically what this means is if you have two sentences that are joined by a conjunction (and, but, or, so, yet – just to name a few), you need a comma before the conjunction. You wouldn’t believe how many people omit a comma in this instance. I’m going to show you a couple examples to help illustrate how I remember this rule.

EXAMPLE 1
She abused this privilege by taking the information and using it to prevent her charge from dying.

EXAMPLE 2
Her feelings for Owen might have clouded her judgment but she would never stoop to sacrificing others for her own selfish desires.

Which one of the above examples needs a comma? If you guessed the second one, you’re right. In the first example, the first phrase can’t stand alone. It doesn’t make sense to say She abused this privilege by taking the information. The second clause is no better. Using it to prevent her charge from dying doesn’t make a sentence either. But in Example 2, Her feelings for Owen might have clouded her judgment is a complete sentence. As is She would never stoop to sacrificing others for her own selfish desires.

The way I remember when to insert a comma and when not to is: INDEPENDENT CLAUSES are IN NEED of a comma. DEPENDENT CLAUSES DEPEND on the contraction so NO COMMA!

INTRODUCTORY WORDS AND PHRASES: This is one of the toughest comma rules (and I use the word rules loosely when it comes to commas) because it doesn’t really give you a clear answer. The rule says that generally an introductory word or phrase is followed by a comma, but to use your best judgment. HELLOOOOO! If we didn’t want someone to come out and tell us what to do, we wouldn’t be reading the rules!

To be honest, this one stumps me the most. With this rule, there’s really no rhyme or reason that goes into an individual’s decision to use a comma or to omit it. I do have a little secret I’ll share that will make it easier. It’s a sure-fire formula you can use to determine if a comma is truly needed. It’s simple and it hasn’t failed me yet.

1. Ask yourself if the sentence can stand on its own without the phrase.
2. Is the phrase being used to insert a pause in the sentence?
3. Place the phrase at the end of the sentence to see if you would need to insert a comma for clarity.
4. Is the phrase essential to the sentence or is it added information?
5. Turn the sentence into a question and see if it makes sense with the phrase.

I know, I know. I hear you all groaning about having to do so much work. And YES you have to do it. If you’re serious about being an author, then you have to do everything possible to make your manuscript the best it can be. Now for a training exercise.

To be fair it hadn’t taken much convincing.

Step 1: take the introductory phrase away and see if the rest of the clause is a sentence. It hadn’t taken much convincing. Yes, it’s a sentence and it can stand on its own.

Step 2: Read the sentence aloud and see if you automatically insert a pause after the phrase. Yes, you should have inserted a pause.

Step 3: Place the phrase at the end of the sentence and see if a comma is needed for clarity. It hadn’t taken much convincing to be fair. Yes, in this instance a comma is definitely needed for understanding.

Step 4: Is the phrase essential to the sentence? This is a little trickier to answer, but we know it’s not essential to make the clause a sentence and we know it’s not needed to help clarify what’s being discussed, so it might make the sentence better but it’s not essential. So the answer is NO.

Step 5: Turn the sentence into a question and see if it’s awkward with the phrase. To be fair had it taken much convincing? Had it taken much convincing? It’s not hard to see that the sentence with the phrase is very awkward when turned into a question if you don’t have a comma.

In a nutshell, if you find that you answer yes to steps 1, 2, & 3 and that you answer no to step 4 and that when you complete step 5 it’s awkward, you need the comma. You might be thinking, “But I know that since steps 1 & 2 are yes that I need a comma so I don’t need to complete the other steps”. Wrong. Most people do steps 1 & 2 and still don’t get it right. Until you practice going through all these steps and truly have a grasp of using commas with introductory phrases and words, complete all five steps!

Now, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. You can start with the few examples I’ve provided. Which ones need a comma? Do you have a sentence you’d like to discuss?

PRACTICE SENTENCES:
With open arms she ran to him.
Before he could shoot the woman whipped the fire extinguisher around and sprayed the animal.
Slowly Kell stood.

Wayward Soul blurb:
When Zanna Seoul accidentally causes the death of a fellow spirit guide’s charge while trying to save the life of the man she loves, she is stripped of her position and banished to Earth to die. In the spirit world, one doesn’t mess with what’s written. With Zanna no longer guiding him and his memory of her erased, Owen Nash is left wide open as the target of the vengeful spirit guide who feels he’s been wronged. A guide who also happens to be a werewolf. Once on Earth, Zanna refuses to stand by and watch Owen die, so she intervenes again, setting off a chain of events that could mean death for all of them if she doesn’t go back and undo the mess she’s made. Can Zanna succeed before the werewolf does?


BIO:
Kim Bowman lives in Indiana, where she was born and raised. For the past eleven years, she has been married to her best friend, Tony. She has four wonderful, awesome children. Three she was lucky enough to inherit from her husband and one she was given by the grace of God. They live on a small farm with two of their four kids, five horses, and two dogs. Kim works as an editor for Evernight Publishing and indulges in her passion of writing when she can.

My Blog
My Facebook
My Twitter
To Buy Links HERE ~ HERE ~ HERE
 
Thank you Kim for joining us at The Heart of Romance and sharing your editorial experiences and advice with us.  

9 May 2011

Today Kim -the editor- explains why 'Variety is the Spice of Writing'

Variety is the Spice of Writing

As an editor, I can tell you repetition is a HUGE pet peeve. H-U-G-E. It’s a HUGE mistake for a writer to make. It causes a HUGE distraction and takes away from the story when an author uses a word or a phrase repeatedly. HUGE no-no. HUGE. Don’t do it. Did I mention it’s a HUGE mistake? Do you get the point?

I thought I had, until I got the first round of edits back on my novella Wayward Soul. Here’s just one paragraph from my book (too embarrassed to post more than that). Notice all the green highlights?

The contemptuous voice raked across her tormented soul, turning her dazed anguish to blazing wrath. She came up swinging. The lycan didn’t move fast enough to avoid her. She raked her nails down both sides of his face drawing blood. She clawed and scratched digging her fingers so deep, she broke a nail. He stumbled back a few steps, screaming and cursing, and then he rammed his hands against her chest sending her sprawling on the floor.

In this one paragraph, I used the word HER seven times and the word SHE four times. WOW! I hadn’t even realized it. My mouth fell open when I saw all the green highlights. Are you sitting down? In a 17,000 word novella, I had used the word HER around 600 times and the word SHE about 400. One thousand words! I don’t even want to tell you how long those edits took me. But check out the end result.

The contemptuous voice raked across Zanna’s tormented soul, turning her dazed anguish to blazing wrath. She came up swinging. The lycan didn’t move fast enough to avoid the nails raking down both sides of his face drawing blood. Her fingers clawed and scratched, digging so deep a nail broke. He stumbled back a few steps, screaming and cursing, and then he rammed his hands against Zanna’s chest sending her sprawling on the floor.

Look how much stronger my voice is in the second paragraph. When you continually use the same word or phrase, it takes away from the story. People “tune you out”. They stop reading or paying attention.

If you take nothing else away with you from my visit on Sherry’s blog, take this: If you continually use the same word or phrase over and over, it will bore your reader. Learn to let the FIND function be your BEST FRIEND when it comes to editing and creating a strong manuscript. Pick some words from your first chapter, specifically ‘be’ verbs, pronouns, adverbs, and insert them in the FIND box and then Highlight them. Let’s just take the word SLOWLY for example. If in a novella you’ve used this word more than a handful of times, you’ve used it too much and you need to find some alternatives. Just this exercise of running a few words through FIND will improve your manuscript tenfold.


Now I’m not saying to avoid repetition. There are times when it adds to a story. The best example is the opening of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities in which the word WAS appears eleven times. Powerful. I’m talking about when it’s unintentional (as with my novella) and, therefore, weakens your story. Search your manuscript with a fine tooth comb looking for any words, phrases, and/or punctuation marks that you overuse and find an alternative.

So what’s your “Achilles’ heel” of writing? What’s the one writing habit you can’t break?

Wayward Soul blurb:
When Zanna Seoul accidentally causes the death of a fellow spirit guide’s charge while trying to save the life of the man she loves, she is stripped of her position and banished to Earth to die. In the spirit world, one doesn’t mess with what’s written. With Zanna no longer guiding him and his memory of her erased, Owen Nash is left wide open as the target of the vengeful spirit guide who feels he’s been wronged. A guide who also happens to be a werewolf. Once on Earth, Zanna refuses to stand by and watch Owen die, so she intervenes again, setting off a chain of events that could mean death for all of them if she doesn’t go back and undo the mess she’s made. Can Zanna succeed before the werewolf does?

BIO:
Kim Bowman lives in Indiana, where she was born and raised. For the past eleven years, she has been married to her best friend, Tony. She has four wonderful, awesome children. Three she was lucky enough to inherit from her husband and one she was given by the grace of God. They live on a small farm with two of their four kids, five horses, and two dogs. Kim works as an editor for Evernight Publishing and indulges in her passion of writing when she can.

Kim's Blog
Kim's Facebook
Kim's Twitter
Buy Wayward Soul HERE ~ HERE ~ HERE


Please come back tomorrow when Kim Talks about Comma Chameleon